Ambassadors return to warm welcome in North West

Educational Pathways VET Ambassadors Jordon and Tarnisha Winsor recently visited students in the Lightning Ridge and Moree school groups.

Educational Pathways VET Ambassadors Jordon Peterson and Tarnisha Winsor returned back to a warm welcome from schools in the North West region after an initial visit in May.

Accompanying them on their visit to the North West was Shannon Mudiman, leader of the Educational Pathways Program, and Morgan Graham, Stakeholder Project Officer - Partnerships.

The group visited schools in the Lightning Ridge and Moree school groups, including stops at Collarenebri Central School, Goodooga Central School, Lightning Ridge Central School, Moree High School, and Narrabri High School.

To engage with the students, who ranged from Years 8 to 11, Tarnisha and Jordan shared information on potential careers, the opportunities made available to them through vocational education and training (VET), and their own experiences growing up in country towns.

Stuart Bailey, Head Teacher Secondary Studies at Lightning Ridge Central School echoed the importance of students being able to connect to the experiences of the Ambassadors as a way to shed light on potential opportunities.

“Tarnisha and Jordan’s real-life experiences provided inspiration for students, who (with self-tenacity and dedication), may utilise the skills and experiences discussed to lay a foundation for future success in their own career pathways.”

Tarnisha, a proud Kamilaroi woman who has just completed a traineeship and Certificate IV in Business Opertions - Marketing and Sales, was able to inspire students in the region through sharing her connection to Culture and Country.

“As we travel to these rural and remote areas, engaging with schools and communities, our goal is clear. We aim to foster change and create new pathways for a promising future for the students and their communities”, says Tarnisha.

“It’s such an important initiative because we get to see the real life, unique challenges that they face day in and day out. We then get to take that opportunity to spark conversations around how we can better support these students to achieve their goals.”

Jordon, who has finished a Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade, was also joined by his frequent travelling companion, Rosie, his dog.

“Seeing the students' faces light up with recognition was amazing. The return trip felt like it solidified the students’ understanding that we genuinely care and want to connect. It was fantastic to see the students open up and ask more questions while we were there”, says Jordon.

Visits to local industry also featured, with Head Teacher Careers Rachael Shearer facilitating a trip to Australian Food and Fibre's Midkin Gin, as well as an agriculture machinery dealership, Kenway and Clark.

Morgan Graham remarked on the significance that the Ambassador visit held for the local schools, as long travel distances often impact access to services. “We saw a really strong sense of community in the areas we visited and were met with a deep appreciation for the fact that we returned.”

Not only did students in the region get to absorb helpful words from peers, but the Ambassadors themselves were able to develop their experience of mentoring the next generation.

“I was extremely impressed with the growth mindset displayed by our Ambassadors”, Shannon Mudiman said. “Their connection with the students was very clear and meaningful.”

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